Florida’s intracoastal waterways, numerous lakes, and other large bodies of water make for a popular boating hub any time of the year. There’s nothing quite like some bonding time with family and friends on the water. When your day is disrupted by an accident, locals and visitors should be aware of exactly what the law details about boating accidents, especially when they involve injuries.
To ensure you are being taken care of and handling the situation correctly, the best course of action is to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Scott McPherson of McPherson & Thomas, P.A. has proudly represented our Florida community for over 25 years and would love to do the same for you.
When Do You Have to File a Boating Accident Report?
The Florida Statutes Section 327.30 details under what circumstances a boating accident must be filed and reported to law enforcement. The rules for boating accidents are very similar to those of motor vehicle accidents, and the following kinds require you to report them in Florida:
- Collision in water
- Collision while entering or leaving water
- Personal injuries requiring medical attention more extensive than first aid
- Disappearances or missing parties
- Property damage estimated to be worth more than $2,000
The law requires you to notify law enforcement as soon as possible and remain at the scene until they have arrived. If anyone requires immediate medical attention, it is important you take the necessary steps to get them the attention they deserve. Do not leave the accident scene without exchanging insurance information, reporting the accident, and rendering first aid. Doing so after an accident that involves injuries can result in a third-degree felony. If the accident involves only property damage, it is a second-degree misdemeanor.
What Are My Rights if I Have Been Injured in a Boating Accident?
If you have been injured in a boating accident due to another person’s recklessness, you are owed compensation for your damages. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to recover economic and non-economic damages for your injuries and property damage. This will help cover losses such as medical records, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Your attorney will help ensure your claim is filed within Florida’s two-year statute of limitations and includes all necessary paperwork to demonstrate the full extent of your losses. This is done through the collection and analysis of evidence, including detailed medical records, photographs or video footage of the accident, eyewitness accounts, and more.
Florida currently follows a modified contributory negligence law, meaning you can recover damages even if you are found to be partially negligent or responsible for the accident. Liability will be determined based on a percentage scale. As long as you are not found to be greater than fifty percent responsible for the accident, you can still recover damages from the negligent or reckless party.
Does Federal Maritime Law Apply to Your Boating Accident Case?
Federal maritime law may come into play in your boating accident case if you were injured while on certain navigable waters. These waters typically include oceans, seas, and other large bodies of water that connect states, but it can also extend to certain larger lakes. In cases involving navigable waters, federal maritime law may take precedence over state laws, and the legal framework can be different. It can also come with a different statute of limitations.
Your personal injury must have the necessary knowledge to help navigate any federal maritime law requirements if applicable to your boating accident.
Questions About Your Boating Accident? Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Boating accidents can be serious and result in pricey property damages, repairs, and long-lasting personal injuries. To guarantee you are in good hands, schedule your free case evaluation with McPherson & Thomas, P.A. today. Our personalized approach to the world of personal injury has helped us recover hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients.